Italian club to renew push for Liverpool star - report

Pepe Reina

Napoli head coach Rafael Benitez declared that Pepe Reina will return to Liverpool this summer, but the Partenopei are reportedly hatching a new plan to keep him at the San Paolo.

Reina found himself displaced as the Reds' first-choice goalkeeper last summer by the signing of Simon Mignolet, opting to move to Napoli on loan.

In southern Italy, the Spaniard reunited with former Liverpool boss Benitez, enjoying a solid campaign as the Partenopei’s number one.

Still, the 31-year-old’s long-term future has remained in doubt for some time, with claims he would return to boyhood club Barcelona scuppered when the Catalan giants opted for German youngster Marc-Andre ter Stegen instead.

Napoli are known to be keen to take on Reina permanently but have found agreeing a transfer fee with Liverpool difficult due to financial constraints.

And last week Benitez himself ruled out a San Paolo stay for his countryman, citing wages as the primary stumbling block.

However, there seems to be a chance yet that Napoli could keep Reina, with Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio reporting that the Serie A giants haven’t given up the fight.

The twist is that Napoli are prepared to ask Liverpool to let the Spain international leave for free - or a nominal fee - in order to focus resources on meeting the goalkeeper’s salary demands.

While letting Reina walk without compensation may seem a raw deal for the Reds at first, getting his hefty wages off the books would free up significant funds.

Paying Reina a reported £100,000 per week to back up Mignolet would be a steep proposition, and Napoli seem keen to use this point to push through a bargain deal.

It’s believed that the veteran keeper is willing to accept a substantial pay-cut to prolong his time in Italy, with the Partenopei able to offer a weekly salary of just under £50,000 at most.

Di Marzio says that Napoli will re-open negotiations with Liverpool this week, while it remains to be seen whether the Reds are amenable to the Campanian outfit’s terms.

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